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This weekend and next week in Indian Country, a rare exhibition of Pueblo Pottery opens, NAMA-award winner Rona Yellow Robe performs, award-winning Indigenous music group Brulé joins the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra and much more.

Here is Native News Online’s weekly round-up of arts, culture and entertainment offerings around Indian Country.

Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022
Sante Fe, NM

Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery is a rare exhibition curated by the Native American communities it represents. The project gives authority and voice to the Pueblo Pottery Collective, a group of over 60 individual members of 21 tribal communities who selected and wrote about artistically or culturally distinctive pots from two significant Pueblo pottery collections—the Indian Arts Research Center of the School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe and the Vilcek Foundation of New York. 

Pueblo Indian pottery has long been exhibited and interpreted in the academic and museum worlds through singular, often generic, points of view: as ethnographic remnants of the archaeological past or as fine art examples aligned with milestones in Western art history and culture.

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But the launch of a unique traveling exhibition featuring over 100 historic and contemporary works in clay offers a visionary understanding of Pueblo pots as vessels of community-based knowledge and personal experience.

Rona Yellow Robe | Solstice Lights featured Player
Wednesday, Dec. 21
Lakewood, WA

2014 and 2016 Native American Music Awards (NAMA) Flutist of the Year, Rona Yellow Robe was born and raised in Havre, Montana, and is an enrolled member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy, Montana. Rona is known for her powerful vocal ability, Native American flute style, and heart-filled presence. She picked up her first flute in 2002 and has been on a Musical and Spiritual journey ever since. It is by playing the Native American flute, which she refers to as her “other voice,” that she has become comfortable sharing with all audiences many aspects of her life that are personal and meaningful to her.

Rona and her collaborative partner, Bruce Witham, have said “We will perform for 5 or 500. We have done both. It’s all about blessing people’s lives with the music.” Rona’s and Bruce’s Music is created with the Intention to inspire, uplift, and fill the listener with peace, hope, happiness, and visions of joy, love, and prosperity. Those who have ears to hear, let them Hear.

Freethinkers Forum: Native American Rights: A Historical Look
Sunday, Dec. 18, 10:30 a.m.— Noon

Building upon decades of research by Dr. Rael-Gálvez on Native American slavery, thanks to the Mellon Foundation, he has been able to launch Native Bound Unbound – Archive of Indigenous Slavery, the objective of which is to create a centralized digital repository centered on the lives of the enslaved Indigenous people across the Americas. Dr. Rael-Gálvez will provide an overview of the initiative and engage the audience in a conversation about the initiative.

Online film screening: "Inhabitants"
Sun, Dec 18, 2022,—Mon, Dec 19, 2022

The documentary follows five Native American Tribes across deserts, coastlines, forests, and prairies as they restore their traditional land management practices. For millennia Native Americans successfully stewarded and shaped their landscapes, but centuries of colonization have disrupted their ability to maintain traditional land management practices. From deserts, coastlines, forests, mountains, and prairies, Native communities are restoring their ancient relationships with the land. As the climate crisis escalates these time-tested practices of North America's original inhabitants are becoming increasingly essential in a rapidly changing world.

Spirit Horse Pipe Ceremony- A Native American Sacred Ceremony-Lakota Tradition
Sunday, Dec. 18, 8:00 p.m.

This is a sacred Lakota ceremony that includes sacred songs, prayers, and drumming. There are additional features to include an opportunity to focus on healing for others and the world and a short meditation.

Christmas with the Symphony: Brulé 
Sunday, Dec. 18 , 3 p.m.
Sioux City, IA

Back by popular demand, the award-winning Native American music group Brulé returns to the Orpheum stage and joins the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra in this year’s thrilling Christmas with the Symphony special feature! Brulé is best known for exciting audiences with the unique combination of cultural rock and theatrical instrumentations. The group is one of the top-selling Native American adult/rock music groups and has sold well over one million records worldwide. Brulé has released 21 titles in 20 years and has been named “Group of the Year” five times by the prestigious Native American Music Awards, earning seven NAMMYs since 2002.

Kallestewa Dance Group (Zuni)
Sunday, Dec. 18, Noon-1 p.m.
Albuquerque, NM 

Celebrate the seasonal cycles through prayer, song, and dance with our Cultural Dance Program. Dances connect us to our ancestors, community, and traditions while honoring gifts from our Creator.

They ensure that life continues and connections to the past and future are reinforced. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is the only place in North America to offer cultural Native American dances every week, year-round.

Cheifs, Klans, and Kin
Through Dec. 31
Calera, OK

The Chiefs, Clans & Kin exhibition features 34 distinguished Native artists of Southeastern and Celtic heritage, exploring issues of singular and blended identities, cultural norms and anomalies, and shared histories of subjugation and colonization at home and across the Atlantic. Nearly 70 artworks respond to both cultural distinction and melding of Indigenous and Celtic paradigms and to the deep connections of family and culture held by these artists.

When the Dogs Stop Barking
Through Dec. 31
Albuquerque, NM 

The artworks in this exhibition recount hard truth-telling while honoring migrants’ grit, courage, and will to survive. 

Featured artists ranging from their 20s to their 70s include: Makaye Lewis (T’ohono Odham), who brings insight about her people’s Nation caught on both sides of the” invisible line” through woodblock prints; Juana Estrada Hernández, a DACA recipient who exposes how the border transfigures humans into a “negative identity— into enemies of the nation” through printmaking and drawing; Haley Greenfeather English (Red Lake/Turtle Mountain-Ojibwe/Irish) and Yvette Serrano, who bring attention to the plight of imprisoned migrants and the harsh realities of the private prison-industrial complex that detain them through painting and sculpture; and Joshua W. Wells, whose sculptures and prints address the failed attempts by those willing to undertake the journey to reach a land of opportunity.

Raven Half Moon
Through Dec. 31
Missoula, MT 

Halfmoon’s latest collection of work was created during her recent residencies at the University of Montana Ceramics department and Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts. Known for her monumental figurative sculpture, Halfmoon’s exhibition features her bold figures that are a continuance and expansion of contemporary Caddo culture.

Halfmoon is from Norman, Ok. and a member of the Caddo Nation, which has a long tradition of ceramics, particularly pottery. She recently completed a two-year residency at the Archie Bray in Helena, Mont., and is one of a very few Native artists to participate in its prestigious international residency program.

The artist hand-builds her sculptures with coil and uses thick layers of black, white, or red glaze cover exposing areas of raw clay. The bold and sizable figures, some of which top several hundred pounds and rise over 9 feet tall, represent women and Caddo’s matrilineal culture.

“I consider [the sculptures as] multiple facets of me,” said Halfmoon. “But they also represent multiple generations—my great-great-grandmother, grandmother, my mother, my aunt, cousins, my ancestors, and what they’ve created.”

Sometimes Halfmoon scrawls declarations across a piece. Most prominent are the artist’s name in bold letters—an assertion of identity, determination, and agency—or pithy phrases that counter racism and stereotypes.

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